Thursday I had to got out to Greenford in west London to pick up my new toy, more about that in another post. Since I was in NW6 and therefore not far from the Grand Union Canal, which runs from near the Docklands in east London all the way through north/central London to the west. You can even go as far as Bath and Milton Keynes and beyond if you are that keen.
I jumped on the canal in NW6 and started to ride on what I really hoped would be a pleasant ride across London. Away from the cold north westerly wind and traffic, the sun even came out to play a few times on my journey. This part of London is generally very nice and at bit of nature in the city especially in the spring and summer. Spring hasn’t arrived yet in London. A wee bit late because it’s been cold for a loooong time and we even had snow that lasted more than a few hours. The canal does cut through a few parks and next to other green areas like a golf course, so plenty of green to look at. Even the odd wildlife like ducks, swans and the odd heron.
The various councils or the waterways people have been on the canal and cut back the foliage which made the ride much easier than in the summer where it narrows down the path quite a lot.
That also helped me to see the areas that the green leaves in the summer cover, and I really got depressed. The best way to describe what I saw is a landfill, pretty much like the photo. Under and next to bridges, behind and over back fences of factories and private homes and generally just scattered around.
There were piles of junk food packing, tins, cigarette boxes and then all the other garbage. Some places it was clearly people who had come down to the canal to sit on the benches that had just dumped their leftovers. Other places it was companies that just tipped it over the fence – “no-one will know”. And all over it was just drop, no that is a wrong word, thrown out stuff that someone couldn’t be arsed carry to the nearest bin. Yes I know the UK and especially London have a lack of bins, but then carry it with you, take it home and use the bin there.
Some of the saddest sights was the coots building a nest in and with the garbage.
This is not the only place in London where it is bad. The Welsh Harp in NW2, is a big park and reservoir with a walk and cycle way all around. The same goes there, plenty of just thrown stuff and fly tipping. It will take months if not years to clear this up.
At the end of the six or so miles I rather enjoyed getting back onto the busy roads, simply because I could not see this depressing sight.
Do we not care at all ?
On a lighter note: When arrived at the depot and handed over my paperwork so that I could get my parcel, the man behind the counter went into the back office only to come back and look at me a bit confused. He then asked if I had come all the way from SW6 out to Greenford? Yes, I answered. By bus or car? No, on my bicycle and I pointed to my Surly leaning up against the window outside.
You must be fit, man! He said in a very strong Jamaican accent.
Only a round trip of 23-25miles including work that day.